Photos from the Millie Aitkenhead collection
Years ago it was a tumultuous time–factories changed hands and the machines seldom idled. Of course things never change, and the squabbles began: water power rights- lawsuits, bankruptcies and of course the sheriff sales. Mills ended up changing hands many times. But similar to a retail store closing- when someone shutters the windows, there is always someone to take over who thinks they can do it better. Even if the factories burned down in Lanark County they were quickly resurrected.
On the streets near the river trades, people set up shops and life was constant and busy in the riverside settlements. That prosperous industry is now gone if you look at Almonte and Carleton Place etc. that had many of the bustling mills. Even some of the old frame buildings were demolished as they had served their day- but in Almonte there still could be a reminder of those once busy times.
The stone arch bridge was built in 1867 and the next time you are down there wander into the little park at the south end of the bridge. There was once a small iron fence that you could not go beyond. A small stream used to break off from the rapids and cascade through an underbrush down to the bay below. If you looked closely there were remains of of old foundation walls hidden by the underbrush– which was a reminder that the factories were once down there and business thrived.
I have no idea today if this still exists today, but that bridge still does, and it is a constant reminder of the industry that once graced the town of Almonte. But today, the industry of Almonte is their citizens with their motivation and direction. A reminder to all towns to do their best.
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